So what is it like for a TV host to actually interview Donald Trump? CNN’s Chris Cuomo appeared Tuesday night with Seth Meyers, and talked about how to navigate some very rough terrain.
“Interviewing him is very difficult,” Cuomo said. “He is real smart, Mr. Trump, about how to use the media. I would say it approaches genius. People can like or not like what he says. But his ability to control interviews — through the use of the telephone; his ability to repeat points; to ignore questions; and understand what will trigger his supporters, is very, very effective, and you have to give him that.”
Seth also explained: “The other thing I feel like he does, is when you ask him a question he can run out of the clock — he can talk the whole time. And so it becomes incumbent upon you to interrupt him — which he can then frame as a certain rudeness on your part.”
Some other insights:
- On the pushback from Trump’s supporters: “What I try to do is, I try to figure out what I can ask him that will get the most people on social media to try to kill me on the way home, has been my strategy — or at least say that they want to kill me on the way home.”
- Cuomo looks at his Twitter feed during a Trump interview: “It’s in real time when it’s happening. Like if you have any noises on your phone, you’ll be like, ‘Oh boy, that one landed!'”
- “What you want to do is try to get a word in edgewise, and try to test him with a proposition where it doesn’t become argumentative. That’s not easy to do or so I’ve found.”
- Seth offered this one: “And also, if you test him and get him to say something — if it turns out that wasn’t what he wanted, he’ll just change it the next day.
- “He will threaten to sue you, also,” Cuomo said. “And in my case once, he threatened to sue the company — which you should always do, you always want to get as many big pockets as possible if you’re gonna sue somebody. Never waste money, go for all of them. And he then threatened to sue my parents — in parentheses, ‘(damning you back to the womb)’ — and that hurt, by the way.”